Please explain Cordelia as a tragic figure in King Lear.

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As he grew older, wiser, and more experienced, successful, and confident as a playwright, Shakespeare learned he could express his own views and feelings through his characters. Cordelia here is telling the truth about human nature, evolution, and parent-child--especially father-daughter--relations. Little girls typically adore their fathers up to a certain age, but evolution has programmed them to turn their attentions and affections away to young and unrelated males. In modern life we see adolescent girls develop an interest in actors, rock stars, and others they used to call "those horrid boys!" Fathers, like Lear, continue to love their children as before, but they find themselves quarreling with their sons and have to realize that their daughters no longer consider them handsome, or wise, or funny. 

Good my lord,
You have begot me, bred me, loved me: I
Return those duties back as are right fit,
Obey you, love you, and most honor you.
Why have my sisters husbands, if they say
They love you all? Haply, when I shall wed,
That lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry
Half my love with him, half my care and duty:
Sure, I shall never marry like my sisters,
To love my father all.

Cordelia is stating the simple fact that when girls reach adolescence they develop interests in males other than their fathers--although their fathers hopefully may serve as models of the kind of husbands the girls would like to have. 

Goneril and Regan have long since seen through their dad and have completely broken away from him emotionally--but Lear still had hopes for Cordelia.

I loved her most, and thought to set my rest
On her kind nursery

He is a selfish old man. He wouldn't mind keeping her beside him until he died and she was too old to get married. One of the many things he has to learn through his coming ordeal is concern for other people.

Since Juliet was only thirteen in Romeo and Juliet, we might suppose that Cordelia is not much older. Lear is astonished by her apparent change, although he is only experiencing what most fathers will have to accept in their little girls when the time comes:

So young, and so untender?

Cordelia still seems as candid as a child. This seems to be the only way of explaining why she is so uncompromisingly honest. She speaks the truth because she doesn't know how to lie. This takes age and experience--but we all have to learn what the Fool tells Lear:

Truth's a dog must to kennel.

Cordelia's candor costs her one-third of a kingdom and eventually her life.

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As she was the only "true" daughter of Lear but was punished for her virtue instead of her vice, Cordelia is NOT a typical tragic figure per se. (No character weakness untimately leads to her downfall.) However, in the more ancient Greek viewpoint of "hubris," she could indeed be considered a tragic hero in that she refused to play the role of the subservient and fawning daughter and then suffered the consequences. The idea in the latter is that it is useless to strive against destiny or fate, and when one does indeed do so, he or she is punished for having defied the "will of the gods" (in this case the will of her ageing father). Ironically, it its Lear and not Cordelia who is guilty of pride, but in the outcome and denouement of events, they both have to "pay."

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